THE SNP and Greens have been urged to make a massive increase in solar power a key part of joint government talks, to complement Scotland’s wind power revolution.

As Glasgow prepares to host the COP26 climate change conference in November, the solar industry said the country could increase its capacity almost 20-fold by 2030.

Solar Energy Scotland said current electricity capacity of 372 megawatts could be raised to six gigawatts (6000 megawatts) if politicians adopted a “stretching but achievable” target.

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, the trade body said Scotland had already set a target for offshore wind potentially supplying 11GW by the end of the decade, and a similar ambitious goal should be set for solar.

Chairman Thomas McMillan said: “We know that climate action and a just transition are on the table for the ongoing talks between the SNP and the Scottish Greens.

“We... politely remind them that any discussion of Scotland’s energy future must include a renewed focus on what solar can deliver.”

He insisted a “stretching but feasible 2030 target” for solar power is needed “like the one ministers have already set for offshore wind”.

Calling for a target of 4-6GW, Mr McMillan added: “The right scale of ambition there will help smooth the path for appropriate solar projects, large and small.

“That in turn will allow us to create hundreds of new jobs and invest in a bigger Scottish supply chain, while contributing to this country’s climate objectives.

“A renewed focus on solar will be essential if Scotland is to decarbonise heat, transport and industry while maintaining affordable energy bills.

“When wind power is producing its lowest levels of energy, solar is at its most productive. We are now the cheapest renewable technology out there. We are confident that all parties at Holyrood want to see that potential unlocked.”

He said countries on a similar latitude to Scotland, such as Northern Ireland and Denmark, already have great solar energy capacity, with one project alone in Denmark producing 400MW, more than the entire solar sector in Scotland.

Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said the party was “committed to delivering a green recovery from Covid, and supporting the rapid growth of the renewable energy industry will play a central role in this”.

He added: “Over the coming decade we will be switching to electric vehicles and heating systems. so we need to continue to deliver more renewables if we are to meet our climate targets.

“Solar is the cheapest energy source available and it could play a key role in Scotland, so we will be looking at how we can unlock growth in this sector.”

The Scottish Government said: “We recognise the importance of energy generated from solar photovoltaic systems in contributing to the decarbonisation of Scotland’s energy supply and to a just transition to net zero by 2045.

“We actively encourage and promote solar energy as a source of renewable electricity and renewable heat across various policy initiatives and projects, and provide funding for solar projects through a range of programmes. We are committed to continuing to work with the solar energy sector [on] growth and deployment.”

Although Ms Sturgeon does not their support to govern, in May she opened talks on a “potentially groundbreaking” deal with Holyrood’s other pro-independence party that could lead to Greens minister. The Tories claim it would be a “coalition of chaos”.